Skip to main content


Developing solutions to global challenges is a collaborative endeavour. The Global Systems Institute aims to act as a hub for transformation through a Global Partnerships Programme, enabling partners to participate in co-creating and delivering the activities undertaken, and problems to be addressed.

The Met Office

In addition to developing new collaborative partnerships the Global Systems Institute is building upon several major existing partnerships such as the Met Office. The two organisations work together to tackle key challenges in weather and climate prediction as part of an in-depth research partnership which also includes the universities of Leeds, Oxford and Reading.

The University of Exeter’s areas of expertise for the partnership include: 

  • Mathematical formulation of Numerical Weather and Climate Prediction
  • Statistical modelling of weather and climate processes
  • Earth system modelling and processes
  • Climate Impacts 

The partnership has developed strongly since the Met Office relocated to Exeter in 2003 and there are in the region of 120 collaborative projects underway or in the pipeline, with a total value of £18million, including joint academic positions, studentships and research projects.

International Partners

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

In March 2022 the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) signed an agreement to jointly investigate climate change tipping points.

PIK and GSI conduct cutting-edge climate research, and are setting the agenda on identifying positive tipping points to tackle the climate crisis, reverse biodiversity decline and achieve sustainability. Both institutes are both powerhouses in climate change and climate impact research and both aspire to be leaders in climate solutions research. Since 2009 both institutions have a shared portfolio of 11 EU funded projects with an overall total value of 88M Euros.

Both institutes have shown world leadership in taking an interconnected Earth system view of the Anthropocene and identifying climate tipping points. Their directors (Lenton and Rockström) have worked closely together on tipping points and the ‘Planetary Boundaries’ framework. Both institutes belong to the ‘Earth League’ of leading international research institutions committed to tackling the planetary emergency. Rockström co-chairs and Lenton is a member of the Earth Commission, which is setting the international research agenda to identify ‘safe and just pathways for people and planet’.

The new partnership will build on both organisations' expertise in the threats posed by climate tipping points and the power of positive tipping points. The partnership will be based on three key objectives:

1)      Develop and jointly execute integrated research programmes on Earth system tipping points and social tipping points of sustainable change.

2)      Establish a joint educational and research capacity building programme with student exchange and joint supervision of young scholars in collaborative research teams.

3)      Advance a joint science communications platform for wide sharing of research results and development of improved ways of communicating risk and uncertainty, commitment and impact

University of Queensland

The University of Exeter and The University of Queensland have partnered to establish the QUEX Institute, a new multi-million pound partnership designed to bolster their joint global research impact. Working under the overarching banner of ‘Global Sustainability and Wellbeing’, the QUEX Institute will focus on the crucial interdisciplinary themes of:

  • Healthy Living
  • Global Environmental Futures
  • Digital Worlds and Disruptive Technologies

Operating as a virtual institute, the QUEX Institute will also promote opportunities for academics to conduct collaborative research at both universities, facilitated through specified and targeted investment.

Tsinghua University

The University of Exeter and Tsinghua University have run a a jointly-awarded PhD degree programme in climate and environmental sciences for the last 5 years. The doctoral programme has supported six students to be co-supervised. The joint programme has provided opportunities for students, who can potentially be funded by the China Scholarship Council (CSC), to access cutting-edge academic training and supervision from the universities’ combined research strengths and synergies in Earth Systems.

The current programme expires in 2022 and both universities are seeking renewal to further build the partnership.